The day of silence is a student led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools. Last year, only two or three students participated, whereas this year, over 30 students took a part in remaining silent.
The Gay- Straight Alliance (GSA) made 300 ribbons for students to wear, even if they choose not to participate in the silence, to show support for the cause. By the end of the day, all 300 ribbons had been given away and students were still asking if there were any more left.
Participating in this event came with difficulties. Freshman Hope Pais shared, “People were curious. I was judged by homophobic kids, saying ‘This doesn’t matter’ and ‘LGBT kids being bullied don’t matter.”
Not everyone supported people participating in the day of silence. Participants would often get dirty stares in the hallways or would see people whispering and pointing with their friends.
“Students said, ‘people can be who they want, but I don’t support it [or] want to represent it,” said GSA sponsor and English teacher Lisa Marshall.
Although there were challenges throughout the day, the experiences paid off. “Since I was wearing duct tape over my mouth to keep me quiet, people would come up and ask how much for a piece. The duct tape was so interesting to some; they decided to participate as well,” said Pais.
In participating supporters were able to get others to join and take part in the silence. When asked about what the purpose was you were able to explain and appeal to that person’s sentimental side. This resulted in the recruiting of several more participants.
At the end of the day, all participants were invited to a celebration of accomplishments. They finally broke silence by eating pizza and sharing stories.
“It’s one of hardest things the students have ever done, but it was worth it,” said Marshall.
Staying silent the whole day is by no means an easy task; but the students who participated had motivation and drive to get to the end of the day.
“We know it gets better eventually, but we want it to get better now,” is GSA’s club motto.